Terri Bird and Fiona Macdonald

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art

Terri Bird and Fiona MacDonald deny the desire to affix meanings to art; they demand that the audience use their own powers of translation. The white spaces of these complementary installations are a shadow theater of ideas and texts. Terri Bird’s Devices for the Interpretation of Nature, 1991, consists of a dazzlingly empty gallery. In its corners are four small sculptures; outside, the gallery’s exits are discreetly marked by bronze bricks set into pavement. Fiona MacDonald’s An Untitled Illustration: Man’s Mind, Part 17, 1991, is figured in the shape of a labyrinth of white walls. The installations defeat both reason and the senses: MacDonald’s maze frustrates scopic comprehension; Bird’s meticulously crafted objets disappear in a void-like haze.

Together, these works are an opposition of maze and void. They are extraordinarily self-conscious—depictions of depictions. MacDonald’s gallery

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